Delicious dish of ground lamb that is fried in an aromatic spice mix (Lebanese seven spice), before being stuffed in aubergine cases and baked in the oven.
Kibbeh is a Lebanese dish of ground meat, onion, pine nuts and spices, that is cooked inside a shell of cracked wheat, ground meat and onion. It is either pressed into a pie dish and baked in the oven, or rolled into croquettes and fried. My gluten-free version replaces the wheat shell with aubergines that are roasted and then hollowed out.
Tips & Tricks
- Cut cross hatches into the aubergine – this speeds up the cooking time
- Avoid overcooking the aubergine – this will cause the skins to collapse when hollowed out
for the baked aubergines:
- 2 large aubergines (about 400g each)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
for the lamb stuffing:
- 500g minced lamb
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil (I used olive oil)
- 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 40g pine nuts
- 1 tablespoon (20g) tomato purée
- 2 teaspoons Baharat Spice Mix (replace with 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper if you cannot find)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
- Roast the aubergine. Preheat the oven to 200°C/390°F. Cut the aubergines in half lengthways. Score the flesh diagonally to create a diamond pattern, stopping before the blade reaches the skin. Drizzle over the olive oil, then scatter over the salt. Place cut side up in a metal roasting tray. Transfer to the oven and bake until the flesh is gooey and lightly browned – about 30-35 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes.
- Make the lamb stuffing. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of cooking oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and fry for about 5 minutes, until translucent but not brown. Add the garlic and fry for another minute, stirring constantly.
- Reduce the heat to low. Stir in the pine nuts, tomato purée, baharat and salt. Use your hands to crumble in the mince. Gently fry until the meat is lightly browned all over – about 10-12 minutes. Stir occasionally, breaking up any large clumps of mince. Expect a fair amount of liquid to be released after a few minutes, at which point you can increase the heat to medium-high. Once browned, turn off the heat and stir in the chopped parsley.
- Stuff & bake the aubergines. Use a metal spoon to scoop out most of the flesh from the baked aubergines, leaving a 1cm or so perimeter around the skin. Place the flesh into a small bowl and mash with the back of a fork. Tip the aubergine mash into the lamb mix, and stir until evenly mixed. Spoon into the aubergine shells, pressing down with the back of the spoon if you need to compact the mixture. Transfer to the oven and bake for 10 minutes, until a nice brown crust forms on top.
- Gently transfer each aubergine onto a plate using a fish slice (they can be quite fragile), and serve hot.